A Recipe! low-carb turkey bolognese, feta & courgette ribbons

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After a fairly indulgent summer eating and drinking-wise, now is the time to reign it in a bit (in time for the Christmas binge, natch), and where I start to think about more carefully about what I’m putting in my body. I’ve said in other ‘foodie’ posts before that a lower-carb (not ‘no carb’ diet) makes me feel better overall- I certainly feel lighter and have more energy to take on what is always an inevitably busy day!

This quick and easy dinner is filling yet super-healthy. We had it after I went for a run last night and it only took about 15 minutes to do- perfect for when you don’t really want to be slaving over a hot stove all evening. The turkey is a great source of protein, is low in fat, and is a great source of vitamin B6, zinc and potassium. The courgette ribbons are a good alternative to pasta, and I promise you that after a while you won’t even miss the spaghetti (and I say that as a big pasta fan!). I now just save pasta for a weekend treat, or when eating out.

This recipe serves two, with 1-2 portions of the turkey bol leftover for freezing.

You will need:

  • 500g pack of lean turkey mince
  • 2 cans chopped tomatoes
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • mixed herbs
  • clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 large courgettes
  • 100g feta to crumble

Instructions:

  1. Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet, then fry the onion for 3-4 minutes on a medium heat until soft.
  2. Add the turkey mince and stir with the onion until it begins to brown.
  3. Add the cans of chopped tomatoes, garlic and mixed herbs.
  4. Cook on a low heat for a further 10 minutes, giving the occasional stir.
  5. Whilst this is cooking, boil the kettle, and slice your courgettes in to ribbons.
  6. Blanche the courgettes in boiling water for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Dish up courgettes and turkey bolognese together, before crumbling the feta on top.
  8. Serve immediately. If you’re a really hungry-type like Adam, some crusty bread and butter goes a treat with it!

 

Teaming with Honest Mum, Vicki, and her Tasty Tuesdays!

A Giveaway! ‘What Would Irene Do?’ Vintage

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Hello all, hope you’re having a happy and productive Monday? Today is a busy one, interspersed with dashes to the toilet (Sasha, not me- we are currently on potty training day 5, and all going well so far!). I am excited to say that after a little break over the summer, I have some lovely new stock added to ‘What Would Irene Do?’ today, and there will be more examples of loveliness to follow throughout the week.

If you hop over to the store’s facebook page (HERE), I also have a giveaway taking place, whereby if you like the ‘What Would Irene Do?’ and share the giveaway post, you could be in with the chance of choosing any item from the store, and having it delivered to you free of charge! You can also gain another entry by sharing this blog post via twitter, and using #whatwouldirenedo.

Perfect if you love all things vintage, want some crockery for your vintage-inspired tea party or celebration, or maybe as a present for a vintage-loving friend! Giveaway closes midnight this Friday 19th September at midnight, and a winner will be chosen at random using random.org.

Let’s ride that back-to-school vibe! x

Living with a ‘Threenager’*

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*Clue, it’s hard!

One of the many parenting cliches bleated at you before you have children, along with “babies should be sleeping through the night by 6 months”, and “sleep when your baby sleeps” (yeah, right!) , is how difficult the ‘terrible twos’ are, and how you must expect a barrage of tantrums and generally testing toddler behaviour. Whilst is undoubtedly true for most of us at some point, right now I want to hunt down these parenting ‘experts’, poke them in the eye and scream “Forget two, why the chuff didn’t anyone warn me about THREE?!”

Freddie turned three in February. All was good, until the last few months, when he appears to have morphed into a weird blonde hybrid of Kevin The Teenager and a mini Pinochet, all shouting, demanding, dictating, stamping feet and rudeness. There has been no big change in our lives, no drama to explain this transformation, although 6 weeks of us being together 24/7 due to preschool holidays was starting to send us all crackers (I kept seeing fb statuses by people saying how much they didn’t want the school holidays to end, which made me feel guilty that I, in fact, couldn’t WAIT for preschool to start again). Out and about he is generally really well behaved and great fun- we can go anywhere, both children will sit in a restaurant for a good couple of hours no problem, and I can take them on public transport/to museums by myself without worrying that they are going to kill themselves/someone else/have a complete meltdown. He appears perfectly happy, we can’t see anything particular apart from tiredness that triggers these outbursts (screw you, 5.30am wake ups). I do still see my loving, sweet, cuddly little chap in there, plus I ADORE spending time with him, especially 1-2-1. It’s just at home that we are having a tough time.

As someone who is shit-hot on good manners and behaviour (although I do try to pick my battles), I find it so hard, not to mention baffling, when my usually sweet little boy suddenly screams at me “GET IT, NOW, MUMMY!!!” or “WHAT DO YOU WANT?!!!”. Or shouts at his swimming teacher (who he usually loves), “WHAT?!” in a stroppy, pouty way. Or screams and shouts at his sister, which sends her into a Tasmanian Devil biting rage (although that one’s for another post!). It immediately makes my bloody boil, but at the moment no amount of stern words or time out on the front door mat (the worst punishment apparently, as “it’s all scratchy, mummy” *wail*) is having much effect. I can give the look, which is starting to be recognised as a ‘Mum-means-business-Paddington-Bear-stare’, but whether or not this first warning is headed is really hit-and-miss. We’ve established that getting shouty (although inevitable from me at times I’m afraid), just ends up with all of us shouting at each other, and giving my long-suffering neighbour, Linda, a headache whilst she’s trying to read a book and enjoy a glass of wine in the late afternoon sun. I’m this close to posting the poor woman some ear plugs and a one-way ticket to Barbados through her door, I feel that bad.

I don’t remember (and nor does my Mum), me or my brothers being so defiant. I am no pushover, and rightly can’t let certain things go. I hate it when parents say “oh don’t do/say that darling” in a sing-song voice, whilst their kid goes mental or is exceptionally rude. BUT should I just ignore this bad behaviour at the moment and praise the good? Carry on telling off and being consistent, and hoping it’s just a phase? Freds is so tall for his age, and having been an early talker, I wonder if we expect too much from him sometimes. Dressed in clothes for 5 year olds, I often forget that he is only 3 1/2, still so young in so many ways.

All of this begs the question, where do we go from here? Is this just a phase? Is age 4 better? (pray to god it is!). Any advice would be very much appreciated!

Linking up with Mummy, Daddy, Me and ‘The Ordinary Moments’

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Honest Mum’s Brilliant Blog Posts!

Loft Extension Lust & A Dream New Bed

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Since living in our house for the last 2 and a half years, I’ve always known that we’d probably end up either moving to somewhere bigger one day (aaargh, SO unappealing after all the work we’ve done!), or undertaking a conversion of our loft (more likely, cheaper, and definitely a lot more appealing).

Whilst I feel mega lucky to live in a lovely 3 bedroom house, Sasha’s room is a touch on the small side long-term. Whilst this is fine for her at the age 2, the older she gets and the more room she will need to play/do homework/store stuff, the more practical it will be for her to have a bigger bedroom. Ultimately if we stay where we are (and I do love where we live), then it starts to make sense for Adam and I to move upwards into our roof, and for her to have our room. Then I may, just may, realise my dream of turning her little old room into a home office/craft space/daybed-place extraordinaire!

I’ve been getting a bit pin-happy on Pintrest (follow me here), and have come across some drool-worthy loft conversions:

Inspired loft conversion with bath in bedroom (image from Shoot)

^^I love how the bath in this loft room is situated underneath the skylight, to maximise use of the natural light.

Just the thing I am thinking of

^^This would be my dream loft conversion in terms of how light and open it feels- the glass windows and doors stretching across one side of the room really makes it feel light and airy, and not at all enclosed, which is how some conversions can feel.

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^^As a fan of white homes, walls and floorboards (you wouldn’t think I had two small kids, right?), this conversion is interiors catnip for me!

Historic warehouse loft conversion on Market

^^However, having said that about the above, I also really love this New York apartment-inspired conversion, which is all exposed original brick and paired-down accessories. I could see this really working in our house, although i’d want to make sure they gave all our brickwork a thorough clean first- our roof is currently the dustiest, dirtiest place going!

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^^This is just leaving me swooning over the split-level aspect of it. I dunno what it is, but I have huge love for split-level rooms, and this would be my ideal conversion if we ever had the space (we don’t, booo)- One level for a sofa and/or bath, and the other for a HUGE sleeping space, which brings me on to my must-have loft-conversion priority: A NEW BED.

I am SO keen on upgrading our current ancient bed to a bigger one, it’s unreal. After sharing a small double bed (unintentionally most of the time) with wriggly, snoring, scratching toddlers, I am LONGING for more room and somewhere that I can have a proper stretch out in. Stiff back be gone! If we did convert, I’m hoping that I would be able to realise the dream with one of these bad boys:

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^^This stunning ‘Loire’ King-sized Bed Frame from ‘Carpetright’ is right up my street in terms of elegance and finesse. and would be a classy addition to our conversion.

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^^This ‘Hampton’ king-sized bed would fit in perfectly if we were to go for that NYC-exposed-brick look in our new loft.

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^^I think this ‘Marco’ bed could work really well in a more minimalist room (Think, mostly white), as well as how it’s shown above, for a calm, clean look.

Which of these beds is your favourite? I’m really torn!

What is your favourite look for a loft conversion, and have you ever had one done?

x

*PR collaboration with the lovely people at Carpetright

Easy Toddler Craft – Simple Painted Snakes

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Whilst most of the time I just let Freddie and Sasha go wild with the paints (despite it making my blood pressure significantly rise when paint goes all over the kitchen!), sometimes it’s fun to draw something for them to actually decorate with paints, and use their imagination as to what they want their person/creature to look like. These simple painted snakes are great if you’ve got limited time with the messy stuff, and are perfect for younger toddlers. Older preschoolers like Freddie can practice their cutting with scissors, as well as using their imaginations in more developed ways then smaller children like Sasha.

You will need:

  • Different coloured paints
  • Chunks of sponge (I cut up an old bath sponge)
  • Sugar paper
  • Black marker pen
  • Stick-on googly eyes
  • Scissors

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Instructions:

1. Draw the outline of a snake on the coloured sugar paper. Older children can draw their own.

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2. Let your little one sponge paint their snake! Sasha was keen to use the glitter paint, whilst Freddie wanted a brown one. He also created a red ‘tongue’ that stretched on to the table (aaargh!) from the snake’s mouth, and he was pretty proud of this, telling me what the tongue was for and showing great imagination. It’s times like these you can notice the difference between F & S in terms of imaginative development, despite there being only 15 months apart, and it’s so interesting to see how much a child obviously develops in such a short amount of time!

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3. Leave the snakes to dry.

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4. Once dry, the snakes can be cut out.

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5. Stick the googly eyes on the snake, or an older child can stick them on themselves.

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6. Ta-dah! The finished snakes!

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Easy peasy! :-)

Garden Update – August

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Wowsers, August has really zipped on by Garden-wise. Probably because we haven’t actually done too much more to our little space- we’ve just sort of sat back and let nature do it’s thang, and reaped the rewards of us actually looking after our plants. I am pretty proud, as although I know my Mum played a big part in getting this garden up-and-running, so to speak, this is the first year that Adam and I have really felt invested in an outside space, and I’m just so happy that nothing has died!

I genuinely enjoy gardening now (sliding into early middle age, no?), and find it immensely relaxing. The children have really delighted in our tomato and runner bean plants, and the joy on their faces when they spot a ripe tomato, or an extra-long bean to pick is just wonderful. I was really chuffed with F&S on Tuesday re the toms. I was otherwise occupied in the kitchen, and they were desperate to pick the oodles of tomatoes that were ripe, so I gave them a bowl and entrusted them with only picking the red ones, not yellow or green. I half expected them to come back with allsorts and was ready to accept this, but they returned with only the reddest, best-of-the-bunch tomatoes, and I felt so proud that at 2 and 3 they managed this. It shows that even at such a tender age, a child can learn some golden rules of nature i.e. what’s ready to pick and what is not, and get involved with the whole gardening/growing process. Without getting too sentimental, it’s a beautiful thing to see!

Anyway, scroll down to see some of our garden photos from the past month:

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^^^The aforementioned tomato plants and S with her little bowl after picking some. We have a ridiculous number this year, and have no need to add any to the Tesco order for quite a while! Ideas for more tomato-based recipes most welcome :-)

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^^^Our hydrangea heads have seen the best of their summer, but apparently we have to keep them on, in order for them to flourish again next year (This is something I didn’t know before, I’m learning all the time!)

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^^^… and our pink hydrangeas. These ones are still going a little stronger than our mauve ones.

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^^^The olive tree is going from strength-to-strength still- I think we’ll need an even bigger pot soon!

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^^^Some of our strawberry plants have come back from the brink of death-by-drowning, after their tubs were left thoughtlessly in the heavy rain of the last few weeks. I don’t think we’ll get any fruit this year, but we’ll probably transfer to a big tub at some point to encourage growth.

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^^^Hurrah! The Centaurea has made a spectacular comeback after the snails came for a party and attacked it in July. They obviously left a bad review on Tripadvisor, because none have returned, thank goodness.

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^^^Our sickly rose bush/climber is still randomly producing gorgeous flowers, just when you think it’s finished. I took this photo looking up, and I love the shadow effect created by the roses on the sky’s background.

So, that’s us! I need to think about what needs doing in the garden over the next few months before winter sets in.

What are your plans for your garden as we head into Autumn?

x

Teaming up with ‘How Does Your Garden Grow’ and Manneskjur Blog!